Newsday Bill de Blasio housing plan target of City Hall protest by Emily Ngo
Hundreds of low-wage tenants and workers who will be left out of Mayor Bill de Blasio's current housing plan protest near City Hall Park to demand real affordable housing on Feb. 23, 2016. Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang
Opponents to parts of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan held a rally in the rain Tuesday to denounce what they said were rents that would be too high for the poorest New Yorkers.
They also continued to criticize his failure to require union construction labor.
Many in the coalition — which included the immigrant advocacy group Make the Road, the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Community Action for Safe Apartments, or CASA — vowed an act of civil disobedience March 9 at City Hall if officials don’t amend their proposal to include “real affordability.”
They seek to influence City Council members on two zoning changes integral to the blueprint before they vote in late March.
“Affordable for who?” Rachel Rivera, 36, of East New York, Brooklyn, asked the crowd of about 200 near City Hall Park. “Not for me and my six kids. ... It’s not fair, it’s not right.”
East New York is one of several neighborhoods the administration is preparing for a major infusion of mixed-income apartment development. But many in the community fear displacement.
Under the mayor’s plan to build or preserve 200,000 affordable units within 10 years, 8 percent citywide would be for families making less than $25,000. Opponents say that’s not enough.
While grassroots organizations denounced the plan, the Hotel Trades Council union, the AARP and other groups endorse it.
“Mayor de Blasio is building affordable housing for our lowest-income New Yorkers at a record pace, and these vital reforms will help us achieve even more,” his spokesman Wiley Norvell said Tuesday.
De Blasio spoke with AARP members about affordable housing for seniors in a tele-town hall Tuesday evening.Mayoral aides have said they’ve made the homes as affordable as they can, considering the rents must be high enough to entice developers to build.
Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) was the sole council member to attend Tuesday’s rally. He pledged to fight for “deeper affordability” and safe labor standards, but did not specify his agenda.